You’ve heard all about our snake and chicken issues. Today I was happy to see the hens in the chicken yard, so I could give them some new food. But as I walked toward the yard with the food, I saw a funny-looking garden hose. That was yet another snake. It was heading under Tyler’s bedroom, where I’m thinking the eggs now are. Sigh.
The chickens didn’t care. They just wandered by it and went out to eat bugs. Sigh again.
I’m not alone!
We have “nature stories” at the Master Naturalist meeting. Last night, it was snake story after snake story! Three other members were dealing with rat snakes in their hen houses! One hadn’t had any snakes in her well-built house in 25 years until now. It’s the year of the Snake.
Another couple has been having snakes eat their fake eggs that are in the boxes to encourage laying. I was really impressed to learn that the wife learned how to “milk” the fake egg out of the snake’s mouth before setting them free. That’s devotion to wildlife.
Then the big one. Our colleague who is devoted to her purple martins found two large rat snakes had gotten into her gourd nests, even though she had lots and lots of protection. We were riveted by her description of trying to remove the fat and happy snakes from the nests. Then the really big one started striking at her! Yow! She made it dead with a garden implement. No one blamed her.
When the discussion turned to whether to kill a snake or to move it elsewhere, I learned stuff. It turns out that snakes become very familiar with their territory and don’t fare well if put somewhere strange to them. On the other hand, someone else was sure a snake could find its way back home from 200 miles.
I’ll just have to do more research.
But I feel a bit better that our chickens aren’t the only ones bedeviled by our slithering buddies this year. All the rain must be affecting them. Perhaps. Theories welcome.